The Chase

Bucky Bitters struggles to escape the airborne affections of Derpy Hooves after a chance encounter caused them to bump noses together. His real mistake was trying to comfort the mare after the snoot-bump. Little does the poor stallion realise that their meeting was only the prologue to a journey that will change not only his life, but the lives around him forever.

This story is a sequel to The Catch

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“I had a bad dream.”

Bucky cracked open his left eye, peered around, and saw Luna.

“I was napping and I had a really bad dream,” Luna said in frightened whisper.

Beside Bucky, there was a snort as Derpy woke up. He felt the grey mare move away from him and her wing grazed against his side as she lifted the blankets up.

Not needing to be told, Luna lept up into the bed and crammed herself in between Bucky and Derpy. She squirmed, kicked, and wiggled until at last, she was sandwiched in between the pregnant pegasus and the unawake unicorn.

“I became Nightmare Moon again… I hurt those I love… I hurt my sister.”

Derpy yawned, nosed Luna’s cheek, and then lay her head down once more. The grey pegasus’ eyes remained open, but only as slits, her amber eyes peering out from between her eyelashes.

“I hurt Barley...I hurt all of you… please don’t let her get me… I don’t want to go back into the dark place,” Luna said in a fear filled whimper. “In my dream I killed Erebus because he was weak and helpless and he disgusted me after she took me over once more. I called him a leech.”

“Where is Erebus now?” Derpy asked.

“Magpie has him… I could not bear to look at him… it hurts too much,” Luna replied in a pained, almost panting whimper.

Lifting her head, Derpy pressed her snoot into Luna’s cheek, inhaled, exhaled, and then gave Luna a tender kiss. Moving her snoot to Luna’s ear, she whispered, “It was just a dream.”

“I don’t want to be like I was.” Luna trembled between Bucky and Derpy. “I can still feel parts of her in my mind… hear her voice… her laughter. I hear her when I get lonely.”

“You’re not alone,” Bucky grumbled. “Now go back to sleep, little nightmare.”

“Don’t let her get me,” Luna said in a pleading voice.

“Where is Barley?” Derpy asked.

“He went to the brewery with Berry Punch,” Luna replied. The alicorn shivered even though she was in a very warm place. “He didn’t want Berry going, but she wouldn’t take no for an answer.”

“Silly numbskull earth pony.” Derpy’s eyes closed, her eyelashes now crisscrossing with one another. Derpy yawned, and as she did so, the words “too stubborn” slipped out.

“Bucky, keep me safe,” Luna said as she rested her head down upon the bed. “I’m so tired. I need sleep but I’m afraid of my dreams.” Luna pressed herself up against the unicorn that was Sombra’s equal, if not his better, and rubbed her cheek against his side. “I’ll help keep you safe from him if you help keep me safe from her.

“She had better stay away… I’m a grumpy lump and I want to go back to sleep,” Bucky replied in a low growl.

 

 

“Majesty, the rumours appear to be true. I know it is difficult to accept, but perhaps there was an ascension within their ranks and the rumours of an alicorn are a mirror traveler.” The pegasus bowed his head before Princess Celestia and waited for a response.

Standing beside Princess Celestia’s throne, Scorpan folded his massive arms over his barrel chest. He was now almost a permanent fixture in the throneroom and his presence kept everypony on their very best behaviour.

“Another alicorn would leave traces of powerful magic… magic that no one right now seems to be able to detect. An alicorn does not simply appear and go unnoticed.” Princess Celestia leaned forwards and her beautiful, serene face contorted into a scowl.

“Nevertheless, several bocors and a number of unicorns did battle an alicorn. There are few survivors. The Sea of Grass is quite alarmed by the attack. Nopony is quite sure what to do yet, but we need to accept the fact that there may very well be an unknown, undetectable alicorn running around and we may be in imminent danger if he comes here.” The pegasus lifted his head and looked up at Princess Celestia, then at Scorpan, and then his gaze fell upon Shining Armor.

“And the alicorn just left?” Shining Armor asked.

“The report states that he gloated for a bit, mocked what few survivors there were, called them weak, and then flew north,” the pegasus replied. “The bocors say that no dark magic was used, which seems to fit in with the idea that this is a mirror traveler, but it is not the Night Stallion. Not from what little bit we know about him. This alicorn was pale blue with a silver mane and tail.”

“So we potentially have an alicorn that we cannot detect running around,” Scorpan said in a low rumbling voice. “And he could be anywhere, including here in Equestria, doing who knows what.”

Fearful, Princess Celestia made a pained admission. “I am at a loss for what to do.”

“I could go looking for him, with your permission of course,” Scorpan said, offering to help out and do what he could. “If he is an alicorn, I don’t know if I could take him in a fight.”

“If he is spotted, if he is detected somehow, I want to be notified of it immediately. I will go and deal with himself myself if need be, and I will determine if he is actually an alicorn,” Princess Celestia said in an angry voice that cracked with emotion, her anger overcoming her fear.

“If he tangles with Buckminster, who has not one, but two alicorns under his care, that would be a calamitous error in judgment on his part,” Shining Armor said. “That said, I am devoting some of my energies to observing the farmhouse. I might even show up in pony to pay a visit.”

“That farm is one of most defended places in Equestria right now… never mind whatever horrible things Buckminster might do, Scorch, Odin, and Heifer Aestus remain to keep Cadance and also Luna safe,” Scorpan said as he rubbed his chin.

“So we have corrupted crystal unicorns running around in several of our major cities, possible problems with changelings in Baltimare, cultists of all stripes converging on Equestria, and potentially an alicorn running around on the loose… did I miss anything?” Shining Armor looked around, his eyes meeting each set of eyes around him, and then his gaze fell upon Celestia, who looked frightened and angry.

“I feel as though I have gone blind once more.” Celestia closed her eyes. “I do not have Luna keeping watch over dreams. The lunar pegasi are helpful, but they do not have her power. I am back to where I was before Luna’s return… we are crippled right now and one of our best means of defense is down.”

“That might be true, but at least we have Princess Twilight Sparkle,” the guard said.

 

 

His heart pounding, Bucky awoke to screaming. His talons flexed into a fist as adrenaline flooded through his body. The bed was warm and very, very wet. He could feel Luna thrashing against his side, her hooves and wings beating up against him.

As Bucky came to an alarmed state of wakefulness, the screaming ceased and became sobs. Bucky pushed himself up into a sitting position, the blankets falling away from him. Already, Derpy was cradling Luna in her forelegs, kissing her, trying to comfort the sobbing foal.

For a moment, Bucky thought that his heart would explode out of his chest. He could feel a second heart in his throat and a third heart thudding away in the base of his horn. He felt his stomach churn from stress.

“It hurts so much…”

“Luna, what hurts so much?” Derpy asked.

There was no reply. Luna, wailing, buried her head against Derpy and her wings flapped outwards with every sob that wracked her body. Luna’s muffled weeping continued unabated.

Looking over at the door, Bucky saw several faces peering in, looking concerned. Thistle stood with her ears perked forwards. Magpie stood beside Thistle. Harper stood with her head poking out from between Thistle’s front legs. Cadance clung to Magpie’s front right leg, and her eyes were shiny with tears. Sukari stood apart, on her own, but looking sorrowful.

“I hurt my sister and I feel so ashamed… I broke my promise to my mother that I would protect my sister!” Luna shrieked, overcome with grief. She began to kick and struggle against Derpy. “I was supposed to protect Dawn Star and I couldn’t do it and all those things hurt her… hurt us… and then I HURT HER!”

The force of Luna’s voice caused every ear in the room to have violent spasms.

“I DIDN’T KEEP MY PROMISE!” Luna screeched, her voice cracking from the force of her scream. Luna squeezed her eyes shut and continued wailing.

“Come on Luna, a hot bath will make you feel better… Bucky, help us to the tub,” Derpy said in a low voice.

“Good idea… while you two are in there, I’ll clean up and go shower,” Bucky replied.

“NO!” Luna begged. “Don’t leave me!” Luna sucked in a deep breath and tried to hold back her sobs. “Please?” She opened her eyes, turned her head, and looked at Bucky, her face stained with tears and shiny with snot.

“We’ll clean up in here,” Magpie said, stepping forward through the door. “You go look after her. She needs you.”

Wishing that his heart would stop pounding, Bucky slipped out of bed, lifted both Derpy and Luna, then carried them off to the bathroom for a bath.

 

 

“What’s going on here?” Thistle asked as Tourmaline rubbed up against her leg. The kelpie looked at the guards who had brought Tourmaline in a covered sky carriage.

“Princess Celestia believed it was time for Tourmaline to have some time with Princess Luna and to visit with your family,” the guard replied.

“I’m not certain I believe that,” Thistle said.

“Mama’s real scared,” Tourmaline whispered as she clung to Thistle’s leg.

The kelpie bared her teeth. “Now I really don’t believe you… you had better start explaining... or else.”

“Princess Celestia has expressly forbidden me to speak of it. I am to make the delivery, wish you well, and return.” The guard snapped out a wing in salute.

“What’s going on here?” Sunset Shimmer asked as she strode into the middle of the gathered ponies. “I just get back from having a nice time with Twilight Sparkle and Flash Sentry and come home to find a commotion.”

“There is no commotion,” the guard said in a worried voice.

“Let me go summon my Master and we shall see if there is a commotion,” Sunset Shimmer said, her voice taking on a dangerous and commanding tone.

“Princess Celestia will be sending communications to Prince Buckminster later. That is all I can say,” the guard said as he backed away from Sunset Shimmer.

“Hmmph. Fine. Go on then, get out of here.” Sunset Shimmer waved and made a dismissive gesture with her hoof. Turning away from the guard, she dropped her head down and nosed Tourmaline.

“My apologies. I know very little and I am under orders to deliver the foal. That is all,” the guard said in apologetic tones. “And we must be going.”

Sunset lifted her head and kissed Thistle on the cheek. “How ya doing?” she asked, now ignoring the guard as they made ready to depart.

“Fine, thank you,” Thistle replied.

“Mama is scared,” Tourmaline said to Sunset Shimmer.

“I suspected something is up. Twilight Sparkle got a message and then she took off lickety split for Canterlot, leaving Flash Sentry and I alone with our coffee and each other.” Sunset dropped head down once more and kissed Tourmaline on the snoot.

Watching the guards as they departed, Thistle said, “I wonder what is going on.”

“Mama said she had to send me someplace where it was safe when she was telling me goodbye. She said Canterlot isn’t safe right now and I was going to stay with Bucky and Scorch.”

“Come on cuddlebug, let’s get you inside and out of the cold,” Thistle said. “Want some cookies?”

“Oh, yes please!” Tourmaline replied.

 

 

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